69 Replies to “Just My Type”

  1. I learnt to type on a manual typewriter at school and there was definitely something very satisfying about bashing away on those keys, noise ‘n all! Then we progressed onto the electric’k’ ones and thought they were the coolest thing. Ah yes, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be…

  2. My dad had a portable typewriter and I thought it was the coolest thing to push those keys, make some noise, and see how fast, and long, I could go before they all became a tangled mess at the ribbon! I loved my typing classes. There was a meditative quality to a roomful of tenth graders pounding away at their typewriters during the speed drills. You had to position yourself correctly and the rhythm of the striking keys was, in many ways, soothing. Love this post, Mike. Both for your memories and mine! xoxoM

    1. I had a typing class in seventh grade, which almost turned me off to typing forever. Dull as dishwater. Fortunately, I recovered.

      I still can’t type the proper way, I’m afraid, but I do use all 10 fingers and have long since memorized where all the letters are located. That’s enough for me, I think.

  3. Hey, I liked Davey & Goliath (well, when I was a young child)! Except for the Easter special when they killed the grandmother O.O. That one was very traumatic, because I’m extremely close to my grandmother. (Who is still alive and kicking at the age of 80. She walks two miles almost daily. Which is better than I do.)

    My mom used to have an electric typewriter when I was a kid, but sadly I only got to use it a few times before it went to typewriter heaven (for whatever reason *sigh*).

    A vintage typewriter is on my to-buy list, but I’m going to have to prioritize a new laptop, I think. Because hubby knocked mine off the coffee table a couple weeks ago, and one of the hinges is dying now . . . not to mention my comp was kind of ghetto to start with.

    1. I respect what Davy & Goliath was trying to do, but I still found it to be a very dull and slow-paced cartoon. Sometimes I even talked at the TV — as if doing so might hurry the story along. When Davy found himself in the middle of one of his very low-stakes problems, I’d say: “Do you really need to pray to find a solution? The answer is right in front of your face, kid!” The cartoon did make an impression on me, I suppose; I have since vowed to never to waste God’s time with piddly, obvious stuff.

      On another note, inexpensive vintage typewriters are out there. I have never spent more than $40 on one. If you’re lucky you might find one for less than $30. So get out there and get typing!

      1. That’s exactly what I was thinking of. The blue ink soaking into the paper, the edges of the letters bleeding. All of the kids sniffing those pages, losing brain cells with every inhale. Ah, those golden memories….

  4. I wrote my master’s thesis on a typewriter, so my love affair with the typewriter ended there. 100+ pages and lots of white out burned me out. The computer is soooo much easier, and I make noise when I type (like, ow, sh–, COOL, really? Oh Nooooo), so I don’t have a problem with too much quiet.
    However, you do make it sound fun and cool and …retro. Fun(ny) entertaining (as always) post.

    1. Thanks, Pam! If you aren’t too scarred by your graduate school experiences, you might wanna revisit the typewriter. I would never write a novel or a thesis on one, but it is a great way to (literally) bang out rough ideas.

    1. If memory serves, the programming before 5 A.M. (on the stations that broadcasted something) wasn’t bad, actually. The local station would show silent films — which I loved.

      But once the Davy theme music went on, I was at the typewriter.

      1. Ah, my little Wildfire. She won’t make me wealthy, that’s for sure. (And she doesn’t have the likes of Sarah’s starred Kirkus review – kudos on that!) But she’s filling me up with gratitude and excitement for this work. Connecting with people who have felt something from the book has been truly rewarding. Thanks for asking, Mike!

  5. My first typewriter was a steel manual with keys so stiff I had to hit them with my thumbs or the letters were too light. It weighed a solid ton and had a case like an iron bowling bag.

    My Dad gave it to me last year. It smells acrid and smoky, like inked silk and dirty oil and carbon paper. I love it.

    1. They do seem so much heavier than they ought to be, don’t they?

      I love looking at the mechanics of my manual typewriter. So intricate and beautiful. So many moving parts. It’s sort of a miracle they don’t break down all the time.

  6. I miss my dad’s old Smith Corona electric. Something to be said for revising on a typewriter, having to retype every single word makes me much more selective. Great post, Mike!

  7. I don’t remember Davy and Goliath! Huh.

    I spent lots of time using my grandmother’s typewriter. It sat on the desk in her basement, and every time I would go to visit, I would plunk away for hours, writing letters to family, stories, business forms and silly recipes. I loved the noise. It felt important. I can’t stand keyboards now that are silent. What’s that about?

    1. YouTube Davy & Goliath. It might ring a bell. (Or maybe you just slept past 5 A.M. on Sundays. And if so, good for you! You didn’t miss a thing.)

      As usual, you expressed my thoughts better than I could: The noise did make one feel “important.” What a perfect way to describe it!

      BTW: Do you have a dusty typewriter hiding somewhere, Anne?

      1. Oh, man. After YouTubing Davey and Goliath, I see what the problem is: it was “Family Approved.” The kiss of death. ; )

        Between my parents’ house and my grandparents’, there are probably several dusty typewriters. None at my house, though. Maybe I’m not “important” enough. I do have a nifty bracelet I bought myself made of old typewriter keys that says, “Dream.” I wear it when I need to pump myself up in a writer-y kind of way.

  8. I loved that “clackety-clack-clack-clack” of the old manual typewriters. Even the IBM Selectrics, as slick as they were for the time, had a very satisfying sound to them. Especially when you were really on a roll with the typing you had a continuous stream of clackety-clack. And you’re right about Davey & Goliath. Man, that show sucked.

    1. I grew up with an electric typewriter, but prefer the manuals because the volume of the “clackety-clack” is in direct proportion to how hard you press the key. You could audibly express your mood through your typewriter. Enthusiastic typing actually sounded enthusiastic. It was almost like playing an instrument.

      And no one can ever accuse me of not giving Davy & Goliath a chance. I tried a number of episodes before my seven-year-old self concluded that life was too short to be wasting my mornings this way.

  9. I can’t believe the ribbon still works! I wonder wehre my old typewriter is? Probably locked away in my sister’s attic (She lives in the house I grew up in – the one that had all the damage during Hurricaine Sandy.) I’d like to find it to show my kids.

    That way they can see how really old Mommy is. 🙂

    1. Half of my ribbon (the black ink) is shot, but the red has been going on like the Energizer Bunny. I do need to pick up a few spares, though. Who knows when that ribbon will finally konk out?

      Kids love typewriters. Love them. My son bangs on mine all the time. Do get yourself one, find a fresh ribbon and set it up. Your kids will thank you. Trust me on this.

      1. How old are they? If they are under 10, they’ll go for it. Trust me.

        Typewriters are on eBay, but they can also be found in most antique stores. That is where I’ve gotten all of mine (and I have yet to spend for that $40 on a fully-functioning manual). Good luck!

  10. My parents had an old Underwood typewriter that I remember using a lot as a kid. It had its own metal table with a blue enamel top, which I still have. Unfortunately, I have no idea where the typewriter is, now.

    When I went to college, my parents bought me an electric typewriter. I used it so much I wore out the ‘e’ key so it stuck every time it was struck and wouldn’t stop! It became so frustrating to use, I gave it away. There is something rather satisfying about the sound and the pressure needed to put key to ribbon to paper. I haven’t used one in such a long time. You’ve made me rather nostalgic about it. 🙂

    1. Old Underwoods are gorgeous. They are like the Cadillacs of typewriters (that is, back in the day when Cadillacs were actually the Cadillacs of Cadillacs).

      You, of all people, should get yourself a typewriter. I can only imagine how you might implement that distinctive typeface into some of your wonderful crafts.

      1. I actually have letter stamps that resemble typewriter type for crafting, but I’ll bet it would be easier to use the typewriter than set up each stamp letter on the page! 🙂

  11. Ah, this brings back lots of lovely memories. Love the clickety-clack of those keys. Thanks for reminding me. I used to type on a non-electric machine and had fun pressing a whole bunch of keys at one time that would then get stuck together. Guess writing wasn’t foremost on my mind back then.

  12. I loved my Smith Corona–and even used it in the first year of college! I took typing classes in 5th grade–an elective–and to this day, is my claim to QWERTY competence…fgfgfgf…:)

    Thank God for bad TV!

    1. My typing class almost cured me of my obsession with the typewriter. My teacher made it feel like factory work. She would scream out a letter and we would have to hit it with the correct finger.

      “Q!” BANG! “W” BANG! “E” BANG! And on and on it went.

      Awful. Just awful.

      Once the marking period was over, however, the typing bug got me once again, thank goodness.

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